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UMNS Weekly Digest - March 2, 2018


Top viewed stories from Feb. 23-March 1. See all United Methodist News Service stories at


Bishops see progress in unity effort, focus on 2 plans

DALLAS (UMNS) — The Council of Bishops wrapped up a four-day, closed-door meeting here, as leaders reported movement and progress in their deliberations about how to prevent denominational schism over homosexuality, with a focus on two possible church futures. 
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Time running short as bishops gather in Dallas

DALLAS (UMNS) — Council of Bishops President Bruce R. Ough challenged colleagues to be open to changing their minds as they grapple with how to avoid a breakup of The United Methodist Church over homosexuality. The council is refining options from the Commission on a Way Forward and faces a July deadline for petitions to next year’s special General Conference. Sam Hodges reports.
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Progress in making a global Discipline

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire (UMNS) — Denominational leaders are working to determine what in the Book of Discipline really should apply throughout the multinational denomination. Heather Hahn has the story, and Mike DuBose has photos showing United Methodism around the world. 
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Building support for a U.S. structure

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire (UMNS) — United Methodist leaders discussed what they see as a growing need for a decision-making body that deals exclusively with U.S. issues. However, they are holding off — for now — on proposing any changes to the church structure. Heather Hahn reports on the discussion among international church leaders.
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Looking at where to put new African bishops

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire (UMNS) — The United Methodist Church plans to have five new bishops in Africa starting in 2021. At a recent meeting here, denominational leaders outlined the criteria they are using to determine where to add the new episcopal areas. Heather Hahn reports.
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Churches help in Blackfeet snow emergency

BROWNING, Mont. (UMNS) — The Blackfeet United Methodist Parish, Yellowstone Conference and the United Methodist Committee on Relief are aiding the Blackfeet Nation, which has been buried under record snowstorms. The snow is over 200 inches and hurricane-force winds have forced the Blackfeet Nation to declare a state of emergency. Kathy L. Gilbert reports. 
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United Methodist Irma recovery work continues

NAPLES, Fla. (UMNS) — It’s estimated that recovery from Hurricane Irma could take three to four years. United Methodist News Service profiled a number of Florida United Methodists who say they’re called to serve and committed for the long haul. Joey Butler reports. 
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Irma survivors grateful for church’s help   
Florida Conference story: First Naples welcomes recovery teams   

Rebels loot health centers, kidnap nurse

SAMBA, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMNS) — Mai-Mai rebels looted two United Methodist health centers in the Kibombo and Kasongo districts, stealing all of the centers’ medicine and mattresses. The rebels also kidnapped a nurse to treat their war-wounded, although he was released a week later. Judith Osongo Yanga reports.
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Support for teens lobbying Florida lawmakers

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (UMNS) — Survivors of the latest school shooting are “formidable” and will be “change agents,” said a United Methodist who accompanied 95 students as they faced Florida lawmakers to demand an end to the killings. Kathy L. Gilbert reports.
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Florida Conference 
Pastors address brokenness after school tragedy 

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. — Pastors at churches throughout the area around the Parkland school shooting had to give equal measures of comfort, hope, understanding and love — sometimes to their own parishioners, but sometimes to strangers. Joe Henderson has the story.
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United Methodists join Walk for Life in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines (UMNS) — United Methodists joined an ecumenical Walk for Life on Feb. 24, to protest Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, which has left thousands dead. Gladys Mangiduyos reports.
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Western Pennsylvania Conference 
Social media rumor targets pastor’s son 

CARMICHAELS, Pa. — A rumor posted on social media just days after the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida, accused a local United Methodist pastor’s son of planning to shoot up Carmichaels Middle-Senior High School. Both police and school authorities determined there was no truth to the rumor. The Rev. Dayton Mix and his wife, Gay, addressed the bullying of their son, who is an honor student, on their own Facebook pages. Jackie Campbell reports. 
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North Texas Conference 
Black United Methodist doctors broke barriers

DALLAS — Three barrier-breaking black doctors gather weekly for a seniors Bible study at Hamilton Park United Methodist Church. Drs. Robert Prince, Claude Williams and Larry Lundy made their marks in, respectively, obstetrics, orthodontics and podiatry. Linda Stallard Johnson reports on their careers and friendship.
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Ask the UMC: What is the kingdom of God?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (InfoServ) — The kingdom of God is a way of describing the reign of God. United Methodists recognize that the reign of God is both a present and future reality. InfoServ, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, takes a deeper look in the latest installment of Ask the UMC.
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Ask the UMC   

Oregon-Idaho Conference 
Oregon man on the road for UMCOR

ALBANY, Ore. — Steve Matthews travels the deserts, mountains and coastline of the western United States to deliver supplies and relief kits to the United Methodist Committee on Relief Salt Lake City Depot. Matthews says he’s just a retired guy who happened to have a truck. Kristen Caldwell has the story.
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Microfinance project enriches women’s lives in Congo 

BUKAVU, Democratic Republic of Congo (UMNS) — Abandoned by her husband, Esperance Linda once worried how she would support her family. Thanks to a microfinance project initiated by United Methodist Women here, she is caring for her four children and teaching other young women to become self-supporting. Philippe Kituka Lolonga has the story.
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South Carolina Conference
Church’s outreach saves town softball

SALLEY, S.C. — For as long as anybody can remember, softball has been more than a diversion in Salley — it’s been a way of life, an integral part both of the town and its people. But the community’s softball field had fallen into disrepair over the years. Clinton United Methodist Church is changing that. Jessica Brodie has the story.
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World Council of Churches
Concern for Syrian civilians

GENEVA (WCC) — The World Council of Churches has expressed its dismay at the dramatic escalation of military actions against civilians in the Eastern Ghouta section of Damascus, Syria, despite the unanimous adoption of an immediate humanitarian ceasefire on Feb. 24 by the U.N. Security Council.
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Hebron (Ill.) United Methodist Church
Helping community while fixing the roof

HEBRON, Ill. — Hebron United Methodist Church needs to make repairs to its building. But the congregation wanted to give as well as receive. In launching its “Living Our Faith” GoFundMe campaign, the church pledges to make 50/50 splits with community partners as it achieves incremental fundraising goals. The first partner is Alden Hebron School District #19. 
Read about 'Living Our Faith' campaign   

World Council of Churches
Christian leaders unite in protest in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (WCC) — The leaders of Jerusalem’s churches closed the doors of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Sunday to protest moves by Jerusalem authorities to begin collecting tens of millions of dollars in back taxes from Christian churches. The protest extended to proposed legislation to confiscate church-owned land. The World Council of Churches is appealing to the Israeli government about the actions.
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South Carolina Conference
Speaking out about domestic abuse

COLUMBIA, S.C. — It took her 27 years to stand up and tell her story, but Karen Wright Chisholm is silent no more. The retired chief master sergeant in the United States Air Force stood before more than 300 people at the South Carolina Conference United Methodist Women’s 2018 Legislative Advocacy Day and shared her story — a story about growing up in Charleston with domestic abuse in families all around her, including her own. Jessica Brodie has the story. 
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Board of Higher Education and Ministry 
Training held for 8-year clergy assessment process 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Annual conference leaders focused on understanding, developing and implementing the Eight-Year Assessment for clergy sanctioned by the 2016 General Conference. A training held by the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry offered insights into clergy wellness, occupational burnout and spiritual vitality. 
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United Methodist Women
Thanking Florida students for 'faithful witness'

NEW YORK — United Methodist Women mourned the recent school shooting deaths in Parkland, Florida, and extended thanks “to the young people of Parkland who are engaging in faithful witness even through their time of mourning.” But militarizing schools, the organization said in a statement, will not keep children safe.
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United Methodist Global AIDS Committee 
HIV/AIDS ministry conference in October

INDIANAPOLIS — Saving lives, reducing stigma and increasing awareness will be the focus of the 2018 Breaking Barriers HIV/AIDS ministry conference, scheduled for Oct. 25-27 at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church. The gathering, hosted by the United Methodist Global AIDS Committee, will bring together leaders in HIV/AIDS research, advocacy and ministry.
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What we would still face if United Methodism holds

DALLAS — The Rev. Stephen Rankin, chaplain of Southern Methodist University, explores what challenges we would face if The United Methodist Church, “by some dramatic move of God,” remains united. He said if the church stays together, it still would need a core of doctrinal unity and an effective means of accountability and discipline “for when we wander from our core beliefs and mission.”
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Here are some of the activities ahead for United Methodists across the connection. If you have a United Methodist event to share, you can add it to the calendar with this submission form.

Wednesday, March 7-Sunday, March 11 

Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference Immersion Event

Sunday, March 11

UMCOR Sunday


See more United Methodist events